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Author Topic: Gold would be worthless in a post apocalyptic world  (Read 2041 times)
notig
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February 01, 2014, 07:29:08 PM
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One argument I heard against bitcoin is that in a post apocalyptic world where the internet is destroyed it is useless... but gold isn't. I disagree that gold would have much if any value. In a post apocalyptic world the struggle for survival would be great and things that would have great value would be goods like guns and ammo. Gold would probably be worthless because it doesn't help you survive at all. It only lets you trade it for something else. I think 10-30 years after a post apocalyptic world when civilization started to reogranize then gold would start gaining value again but in the immediate aftermath of something cataclysmic it would be useless.
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February 01, 2014, 07:52:52 PM
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February 01, 2014, 08:16:42 PM
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I don't really see much of anything having significant value in a post-apocalyptic world. It'd be a world of unimaginable abundance for a long time, I suspect, unless most humans survive. A truly horrible apocalypse would probably involve no immediate death, but electromagnetic fields and/or cosmic rays. If we were unable to easily use the electronics we've based our lives around, we'd probably wipe ourselves out pretty quickly.

It all depends on the scenario. Maybe lead becomes the most valuable resource on Earth and nobody uses gold. Maybe there are constant extreme lightning storms and everybody wants to build a dome around their houses out of copper or gold. Maybe we suddenly have no arable land and must manufacture isolated hydroponic farms with manufactured water. Maybe the International Jew Cabal unzips from their stolen human skin to reveal themselves as terrible monsters which eat nothing but precious metals, except they eat the hoarders first and only let the most submissive survive. Maybe enormous aliens crash-land on Earth and breathe in water floating around the air, separate the molecules through magisynthesis, and fart out hydrogen gas while storing the oxygen in ultra-compressed sacs they refuse to release. The hydrogen floats away and we quickly run out of water, but after the aliens die, we realize their sacs are fully enclosed and not penetrable with anything on Earth. Maybe plants become sentient and develop a hostile relationship toward humans after witnessing using spinning murder-blades being used on their brethren, and our lawns are constantly attempting to strangle and/or suffocate us. Maybe Ralph Nader is elected president.
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February 01, 2014, 08:24:09 PM
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As Kluge points out, it depends on what apocalypse happens.  To me the most likely scenario is some sort of total failure in the power grid.  Things would go to hell very quickly, and I couldn't see trading anything I need for gold in that scenario.

Once things stabilize, gold probably would return as a means of exchange for the same reasons it was used in the past.  It's chemically stable, it's scarce, and it's shiny.
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February 01, 2014, 08:35:56 PM
Last edit: February 01, 2014, 08:52:15 PM by Mr. Socko
 #5

Gold and silver would be the ultimate store of value in a post apocalyptic world. Guns, ammo, food, and water are obviously more important. I bought a couple of katadyn pocket filters years ago although I no longer think society will collapse, it's still nice 'just in case' to have something like that. I don't have any food stockpiles so I wouldn't last very long. I also don't have a 'killer instinct' and have no reason to go around looting and pillaging to survive. If I ever have a wife and kids, of course that would change.

Nonetheless you're fooling yourself if you think gold or silver would not have value. They are the ultimate, publically known stores of value that go back a thousands of years. They make a great PART of anyone's survival prep. I'm not saying they should be the sole focus, or the only thing you have... food, toilet paper, water, guns, and ammo should make up your foundation... gold and silver.. merely a place to put some spare cash.

The worst possible scenerio would be a large scale EMP event, perhaps from the sun, that wiped out everything electronic on a global level. That truly would be devastating. Only items protected by Faraday cages would still function. I wonder how many big tech companies have protected their valuable manufacturing ability with such protection? Probably not many.  The major issue is our electrical power grid being outdated and the virtual lack of any extra supply of large transformers which would be destroyed from an EMP event... without transformers any electricity you do generate is not going anywhere.  Of all the things we blow our money on, or fragile electrical grid could be described as a ticking time bomb.

http://empandsolarprotection.com/2012/04/which-is-the-greater-danger-a-solar-flare-or-a-nuclear-emp/

"In 1992, after Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, every spare small transformer in North America was used restoring power in South Florida.  This was followed by a one-year world-wide shortage of small transformers.  The world is woefully unprepared to restore even a tiny portion of the world’s electric supply following a massive CME."

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February 01, 2014, 09:19:55 PM
 #6

I would guess gold would be more valuable then bitcoins, at least initially. Everyone's heard of gold and silver - my friends and family still look at me really funny and are usually skeptical when I bring up crypto currencies.  Do you think people are just going to throw their gold in the trash if a disaster of Biblical proportions occures?

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February 01, 2014, 11:55:20 PM
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More likely apocalyptic scenarios involve instabilities in human systems, rather than environmental problems.  The internal contradictions of the debt money system will destroy it at some point.  There may be political/economic catastrophes on a smaller scale between now and then, any one of which can be deemed apocalyptic, if you are among those strongly affected by them.   Presently, our economy and our agricultural system are heavily and increasingly dependent on growing petroleum production, but frack yields decline rapidly, and that crutch will be withdrawn very soon. Power grids will adapt to new energy sources simply because they are so critical to industry and daily life, and the Internet is designed to survive apocalyptic scenarios, so I don't think the usability of bitcoin will be threatened unless there is a massive EMP event, globally comprehensive in scale.  Consequently, I expect bitcoin to benefit from upcoming social disruptions.  Gold and silver will benefit as well, but not as much, since they already have reached a high level of adoption as a disaster hedge.

Here's an interesting way to make gold useful in quotidian transactions:  http://www.valaurum.com/

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Give a man a Poisson distribution and he eats at random times independent of one another, at a constant known rate.
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February 02, 2014, 01:47:01 AM
 #8

I think that the best answer to this silly and often-stated criticism is to affirm that Bitcoin is not really meant for the kind of apocalyptic situations that cause people to dig bunkers, and stockpile food and weapons.  The kind of situation we never been previously witnessed.  Instead, it diversifies your investment portfolio during political-economic meltdowns, such as during long periods of high (10-25%) inflation, or a period of hyper-inflation.  These events have occurred many times throughout the world and is happening in Argentina right now.

So the above argument simply avoids the fight by saying "Not applicable", but at the same time reinforcing why Bitcoin IS valuable.

And I always follow this up with the observation that if the imaginary apocalypse was a significant depopulation event that left infrastructure more or less intact (disease for example) the ratio of gold per person would rise greatly.  That is, you could probably just wander through empty affluent neighborhoods picking up lots of jewelry.

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